Sizes: one size fits all
How Obtained: Sample from company
Availability: Online, select retail
RBR Sponsor: No
Tested: 20+ hours (and down to 12F degrees, or -11C)
3-in-1 Option Keeps Your Head, Face and Neck Warm in Winter
Like much of the U.S., winter has been in full force for weeks in the Chicagoland area. That means cold road and trail rides are the norm for the next 3-4 months. I’m always looking for the right gear combination for warmth at the ride start without getting overheated during the ride. The last thing I want is a soaking wet head in freezing temps.
The Weatherneck System has provided me with lots of options. I could start the ride with the hat and facemask. Then as I warmed up pull the facemask down to cover just my chin or all the way down as a balaclava. And if it really warmed up, the face mask is attached by magnets, so I could remove it and stuff it in my jersey pocket.
Stay warm without overheating
The hat design is spot on. It fully covered my ears and features a 3-inch mesh strip that runs along the top of the head to allow heat to escape. In addition, the hat is shaped like a mullet, with a longer tail in the back to cover your neck. A small pocket in the mullet portion lets you store credit cards or money. And for super cold days, you can even slip a hand warmer inside that pocket.
I found the hat material thin enough to easily fit under a helmet but warm enough to keep the chill out. On one ride my boyfriend forgot his hat and I loaned him the Weatherneck. I figured it was good to get another point of view since men normally run hotter than women. He liked the features and found it quitecomfortable, giving it a thumbs up.
It’s a facemask, it’s a neck gaiter, it’s a balaclava
The removable facemask attaches to the hat portion via magnets. There are three locations in the back of the hat to secure the facemask, allowing for different sizing. Depending on conditions, the facemask can be worn loose or tight.
The same type of 3-inch mesh strip that is sewn into the top of the hat is also down the front of the facemask. It allowed me to easily breathe warm air in without feeling like I was suffocating. Having the mesh helps to prevent moisture from building up like you have with a solid facemask. Also, I found my sunglasses fogged up a lot less, and goggles not at all, compared to a solid facemask.
The one area I’d change on the facemask is on that 3-inch mesh strip. On really cold mornings I would have preferred a small solid patch of fabric (about 2-3 inches) just across the bridge of my nose. It would get cold as the wind came through the mesh. However, as I got into the ride my nose would warm up.
When it is time to launder, I recommend that you put the hat and facemask in a mesh laundry bag when washing. The magnets can get stuck to the side of the washer. Also, the manufacturer recommends hanging to dry, which I do with all my cycling gear.
Reading the FAQ on their web site, one critical note – if you use a pacemaker, do not use this product. The magnets incorporated in the hat and facemask may interfere with the device.
About the inventor
The inventor and owner of The Weatherneck, Brian Davis, is from the neighboring state of Wisconsin and a fellow cyclist. He experiences even colder, snowier temps than I do around Chicago, so keeping warm is crucial. Weatherneck is one of three cycling products he’s designed and successfully launched. Fix It Sticks (nifty modular wrenches we’ve mentioned in the past) and the Backbottle are the two others.
Having a 3-in-1 winter hat, facemask and balaclava that is customizable as your body temperature changes during a ride is unique. The Weatherneck System provides all that. Wear just the hat, add a full facemask, or somewhere in between. And as I’ve mentioned in past product reviews, it’s always nice to be able to use gear for other activities in addition to cycling. The Weatherneck System can be used when skiing, snowmobiling, hiking or whatever takes you outside on a cold winter day.
Sheri Rosenbaum regularly contributes articles and reviews products for RBR. She’s an avid recreational roadie who lives in the Chicago area and a major advocate for women's cycling, serving on the board of directors and volunteering with the Dare2tri Paratriathlon Club. Click to read Sheri's full bio or visit her web site sunflowersandpedals.com.